We recently got a guided tour of Arcalife, a family tree-building site based in Britain that launched in beta at February’s Who Do You Think You Are? Live show in London. The site is growing by as many as 3,000 members a month, and is gaining a foothold on this site of the Atlantic.
You get 500 MB of storage with a free account. Paid accounts come with more storage and features.
I’ve been playing around with Arcalife, and though (as for most any beta site) some functions are under construction, it looks promising. You can or will be able to do some cool things, including:
- Build a flexible family tree with people on “nodes” you can move around to change the shape of your tree. You can add siblings, step-parents, partners and other family members who wouldn’t make it onto traditional trees, and set up a profile for each one. You also can modify two individuals’ relationship.
- Print your tree with an easy-to-use tool that lets you resize the tree, print on multiple pages, and see where the edges of pages will fall.
- Invite relatives to add to their Life Archives (or you can do so on behalf of deceased people) by following writing prompts designed to tease out everything from “Rules We Live By” to “First Real Job.”
- Also under Life Archives, fill out Life Experiences for your ancestors and use them to generate a scrolling timeline set to music. (The timeline feature is “limited” for free accounts.)
- Create a memoir in easy chunks by answering a series of questions.
- Upload photos and video in the Media Archive (under Life Showcases) and turn them into a gallery or “Life Cube” slideshow (also limited for free accounts). You can import photos from Facebook and other social networking sites.
- Search the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot and the rest of the Web from within Arcalife.
- Generate a virtual time capsule of images and stories, choose people to send it to and designate a future date to unlock it.
- You’ll eventually be able to use fee-based services for conducting oral history interviews, printing large family trees, converting photos or videotapes to digital and more.